This J.C. Wilson patriotic postcard shows a WLS-007 Anglo-Saxon J.C. Wilson patriotic postcard mailed from Ottawa to Sarnia, with a Map stamp no. 86b cancelled with an Ottawa crown cancel. The Ottawa crown cancel was used over an approximately 20 year period, ending about 1900.
The card is addressed to W.T. Smith, Esq., Box 338, Sarnia, Ontario. W.T. Smith was member no. 68 of the American Numismatic Association, and who wrote in the 1902 edition of The Numismatist that collectors should consider having personal cards, or numismatists tokens, made to trade with other collectors. The image below shows W.T. Smith’s
personal token listing his Box 338, Sarnia address.
The J.C. Wilson postcard to W.T. Smith is hand dated on the reverse with the date of January 3, 1900.
On the reverse, the message reads:
LEAVE FOR HALIFAX TOMORROW.
THE GLOBE AND STAMP SHOW MUCH
WATER TO BE CROSSED.
WILL SEND CARDS FROM KRUGERLAND.
The card was previously sold for $165 on January 16, 1996 in a Charles G. Firby auction. The Ottawa crown cancel was one of the “most prolifically faked cancels”. A good resource on forged Ottawa crown cancels is found here. From that reference, it is seen that most forgers tried to achieve crisp strikes of the crown on the stamps and covers they were cancelling. In this case, the cancellation is far from crisp. The indistinct impression of the cancellation makes detailed comparison to the original impression in the Proof Book of Pritchard & Andrews, official suppliers of cancelling devices to the Canadian Postal Department, difficult.
If this card is genuine and not a fake, then it would represent the correspondence of a soldier about to embark from Ottawa to Halifax, likely joining the troop trains carrying volunteers and horses. The trains “received thunderous welcomes at stations across Canada as they headed to Halifax to leave for South Africa”. There, the writer would likely join the first dispatch of the 2nd Canadian Contingent, consisting of a detachment of the 2nd Battalion Canadian Mounted Rifles, “C”, “D” & “E” Batteries of Royal Canadian Field Artillery, the Postal Corps and the Nursing Group. The ship S.S. Laurentian left Halifax on January 21, 1900 bearing the troops.